NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of residents were forced to flee for their lives last Saturday when a powerful blaze tore through their Flatbush apartment building.
On Saturday, new efforts were underway to help victims recover from the tragedy, CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu reports.
“This is what community is about, this is what community does,” Councilman Jumaane Williams said.
Residents who live near the fire-ravaged building saw how much their neighbors lost and came together to help.
“We have parishioners on that block, and they came to us and asked could we do something for our neighbors who are there,” Pastor Harriet Wieber, of St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, said. “The outpouring and the generosity was marvelous.”
It wasn’t just people in Flatbush who wanted to help the more than 100 displaced residents, either. Donations from across the city poured into St. Stephen’s for Saturday’s disaster relief drive, and the donations were desperately needed.
“My son is going crazy in the hotel because he is autistic,” one resident said.
“Now we have in the rooms of our school, several different locations, a whole room of men’s clothing, a whole room of women’s clothing and children’s clothing,” Pastor Wieber said.
Local leaders expressed great pride in the community for doing all they could to help.
“We’re a very beautiful community and we look out for each other,” Councilman Williams said. “Today is evidence of that.”
Saturday’s donation drive is just the beginning of the outreach effort.
“We’re going to stick around for as long as we need to, to make sure the transition goes as smoothly as possible,” Councilman Williams said.
“We hope to help them get ready for their new lives,” Pastor Wieber said.
Those taking their first tentative steps toward building those new lives felt nothing but gratitude for the outpouring of love and support from their neighbors.
“The community has been really good to us, and we thank God we’re alive,” one resident said.
Pastor Wieber said Saturday’s event was about four times the size of the regular monthly clothing distribution program at St. Stephen’s.